Category Archives: Crony Capitalism

Cronyism Spinn[er]ing Out of Control

Jerry Rogers

for TownHall

President Obama announced on June 26, 2015 that he was appointing Steven Spinner to the Commission on White House Fellowships. In his statement, Mr. Obama described Mr. Spinner as an experienced and committed individual, and the President went on to say that he is looking forward to working with him. At first glance, no big deal—another hanger-on appointed to one of Washington’s myriad patronage boards and panels.

Then again, on closer scrutiny, Spinner isn’t your typical-everyday D.C. flunky. Steven Spinner was an adviser for the Department of Energy (DOE) loans program responsible for the Solyndra debacle. He played a lead role in the most infamous case of crony capitalism of the Obama Presidency, which means—arguably—the most infamous episode of cronyism in our nation’s history. Solyndra—the failed solar panel company that filed for bankruptcy—was the first to receive a taxpayer-backed loan guarantee from the DOE in September 2009. Spinner helped steer millions of dollars of the controversial stimulus funding to Obama’s crony corporate friends at Solyndra.

Spinner raised political cash—over $500,000—for Obama during the 2008 campaign, and then Spinner was named to the White House transition team and later served as “chief strategic operations officer” at DOE. Spinner—while at DOE—helped deliver over $530 million to Solyndra. In 2011, Solyndra files for bankruptcy leaving taxpayers with the massive bill. Spinner raised more political cash for the President in the 2012 cycle, and he’s rewarded again with a post on a White House commission. You can’t make this stuff up. The whole sordid affair reads like a bad script from a B-level political melodrama.

And there’s more to the script. Spinner’s wife worked for a law firm that represented Solyndra and a dozen or so other green-energy interests that applied for federal funding. The public record shows that her firm received $2.4 million from the government in legal fees associated with Solyndra’s loan application. Washington has always been a place where deals are done and favors exchanged. However, President Obama has created a new normal of hyper-cronyism of rewarding his political friends with taxpayer dollars (Solyndra) and government posts (Spinner).

The Washington D.C. metro-area has become the wealthiest region in the country because the political class rewards those like Steven Spinner who deal, almost exclusively, in favors at the expense of the American people. While Washington’s political class gets richer, everyday Americans struggle to pay their mortgages, put their children through school, and keep groceries in their cupboards. The economy remains stalled and our nation is in the worst “economic recovery” in our history. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there are nearly 94 million Americans out of the workforce, the lowest labor force participation since 1977. Also for the first time in our history, working-age people now make up the majority of American households that depend on food stamps, a dramatic change from a just a few years ago, when children and the elderly were the main recipients.

As National Review reported back in 2011, Steven Spinner was “intimately involved in the negotiation and was advocating on behalf of” Solyndra regarding the DOE loan. Spinner involved himself in these negotiations regarding Solyndra even though he had signed an ethics agreement not to do so. What a sad testament to Washington’s new normal of hyper-cronyism that Steven Spinner is once again being honored with a White House position, even one as innocuous as the Commission on White House Fellowships. It’s sadder still that no one in the media picked up on the story. No news here—just business as usual for President Obama and Washington’s political class. Cronyism is Spinn[er]ing out of control.

Debut of the Vlog: LangerCast Episode 54!

 

It’s Episode 54 of the LangerCast, the podcast (and Vlog) of Andrew Langer and Jerry Rogers from the Institute for Liberty. On this episode, Andrew and Jerry break down the Britt McHenry scandal, talk about their own experiences with towing companies in Arlington, VA and elsewhere, and tie this all in with the problems of crony capitalism!

Then they introduce their weekly “Hillary Watch” segment, and talk about how everything one needs to know about Hillary Clinton is there in black and white. (The introduce their Hillary Watch theme, too!)

Then its a discussion of the latest on Iran, how the Bob Corker deal wasn’t a good deal at all… and big congragulations to Erik Telford!

LangerCast episode #34: Civil Conversation for Civil Society

Click here to join the best political talk anywhere … Andrew and I discuss Jonathan Gruber, and how “Gruberization” impacts the national discussion and demeans our politics. We then tackle the issues of energy independence, the #FailMary vote on the Keystone XL pipeline, GMO science, and crony capitalism.

 

 

The LangerCast: the Best Political Talk Anywhere!

The best political talk anywhere … Andrew Langer and I are joined by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance’s Michi Iliazi to talk weddings (Colleen Rogers); Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber (who thinks you’re stupid); why the Left is wrong about the midterm elections and voter turnout; the president pressuring the FCC on regulating the internet; the Postal Service delivering groceries; and much, much more. We also set the record straight for David Barclay on The Langer Cast vs. Laura Ingraham.

The LangerCast: The Best Political Talk Anywhere

Aloha from the Big Red Wave! Episode 32 of @The LangerCast is up! Andrew and I were live from the American Conservative Union’s Election Night Party.

A great cast of characters sat and paneled with us, helped us to break down the returns as they came in – and discussed with us solutions to issues and painted a picture of how the GOP might govern come January.

https://soundcloud.com/…/the-langer-cast-32-aloha-from-the-…

The Langer Cast: Civil conversation for civil society.

We get a surprise phone call from the “streets of the Bronx.”

Andrew and I give a preview of next week’s midterm elections, and discuss Hillary Clinton’s boneheaded statement last week that businesses don’t create jobs.

We talk about why civil society matters and why race hustling is failing.  Then we talk about cronyism in the lame duck session.

Finally, we circle back to the tour of the Bronx – I remember growing up in the North Bronx near the Tracey Towers, and Andrew discusses his Dad’s family in Crotona Park and Riverdale. We talk about the importance of family, community, and that it’s never too late to give thanks and show gratitude.

Music on this week’s show: The Sweet, Run DMC, Pilot, Joe Jackson, Stevie Wonder, War.

https://soundcloud.com/man…/the-langer-cast-31-a-bronx-tale…

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The Langer Cast! Rights, Innovation, and Czars

Episode 30 of the LangerCast is up and ready for your enjoyment! “We’ve Seen All Good People”— recapping Homecoming weekend(s) (both mine and Andrew’s).  Andrew talks about what makes great people—like the wonderful group of friends he saw this past weekend.

We turn to Andrew’s op-ed in Townhall.com, and my recent piece on GMOs at the The CapAllies Post—talking about how politics impacts food innovation (and innovation generally).

Then, we go back and revisit the story of Houston subpoena-ing pastors, and talk about the Coeur D’Alene, Idaho situation. Andrew talks about the nature of rights, how rights intersect, and how to relieve tensions when rights clash.

Finally, we talk about Ron Klain’s appointment as Ebola Czar, just what this portends for the American republic generally and the Obama administration specifically. How Klain’s appointment compares to Stuart Simonson’s, and the hue and cry that would have been raised had a Republican president appointed Karl Rove to be Ebola Czar.

Music this week from Grandmaster Flash, Greg Kihn, Lyn Johnson, the Pretenders (among others) and we close out (on the recommendation of Rob Lane) with Wilson Pickett singing Hey Jude, accompanied by a then-unknown Duane Allman.

https://soundcloud.com/…/the-langer-cast-30-weve-seen-all-g…

http://www.stitcher.com/podc…/relm-network/the-langer-cast-2

https://itunes.apple.com/podca…/the-langer-cast/id824436935…

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The Langer Cast — GMOs, Intellectual Property Rights, Free Speech, and more

It’s Episode 27 of the LangerCast: GMOs, Jeter and GoGos vs. the Bangles! Andrew Langer and I are joined by Michi Iliazi from the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), live from the offices of Americans for Tax Reform.

We break down the State Policy Network annual meeting in Denver last week, talk about the Derek Jeter era coming to an end. We discuss my new op-ed in The Daily Caller on GMOs. Michi gets us up to date on what the TPA is doing!

We talk trademark destruction – government interfering in intellectual property rights by mandating plain-wrapper packaging to deciding which trademarks are offensive and therefore nullified. We then tie this all into Operation Choke point and the overall war on free speech.

Then we re-ignite the GoGos vs. the Bangles debate, as Michi shows off his 80s trivia skills.

PLEASE TAKE A LISTEN, SUBSCRIBE, AND LET YOUR FRIENDS KNOW ALL ABOUT THE LANGER CAST!

https://soundcloud.com/…/the-langer-cast-27-jeter-gmos-and-…

http://www.stitcher.com/podc…/relm-network/the-langer-cast-2

https://itunes.apple.com/podca…/the-langer-cast/id824436935…

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